Ganaraska Forest


Location: Northumberland, Durham, Peterborough and Victoria Ontario
Region: Central
Character: Southern Ontario's Largest Forest
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Ganaraska Forest
By Ganaraska Conservation

Come and experience southern Ontario's largest forest. Located within an hour's drive of Toronto, straddling the Counties of Northumberland, Peterborough, Victoria and the Region of Durham, the Ganaraska Forest offers the best in outdoor recreation.

With hundreds of kilometres of trails, the Ganaraska Forest provides year-round opportunities for a variety of activities. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and nature appreciation are popular activities throughout the Forest. Motorized activities such as off-road motorcycle riding, ATVing and snowmobiling are permitted in the West Forest and East Forest only. The Central section of the Forest is maintained as a passive use area.

Recreation
With hundreds of kilometres of trails, the Ganaraska Forest provides year-round opportunities for a variety of activities. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and nature appreciation are popular activities throughout the Forest. Motorized activities such as off-road motorcycle riding, ATVing and snowmobiling are permitted in the West Forest and East Forest only. The Central section of the Forest is maintained as a passive use area.

Horseback Riding
The Ganaraska Forest is an extreamly popular destination for horseback riding. With over 10,000 acres of forest to explore its no wonder that both local residents and riders from across the province come to the "Ganny" for their trail riding experience. A large parking area designated specifically for horse trailers is located just east of the Ganaraska Forest Centre on the 10th Line of the Municipality of Port Hope and provides direct access to the Central Forest trials. Hores trailers are not permitted to be unloaded at the Forest Centre itself.

Hiking
If a quiet stroll in the forest to commune with nature is what you enjoy, the Ganaraska Forest has plenty to offer. Our walking trails are designed to appeal to all abilities of hikers and walkers alike. If you plan to enjoy our special habitat trail, as a wide variety of wildlife may be viewed, be sure to bring you camera.

Mountain Biking
Grab your bike, load up with plenty of water and hit the trails in the Ganaraska Forest and be prepared for a few challenges. We offer hundreds of kilometres of twisting, turning, hill-climbing single track trails and logging roads. You will need a whole summer to explore all of our endless trail possibilities in the forest.

Cross-country Skiing
If you’re looking for a great place to ski, look no further. Come and enjoy some of the most picturesque, groomed cross-country ski trails in Ontario. At the Ganaraska Forest Centre, you can get lost in the beauty of nature, while the clearly marked trail signs keep you right on track. The Forest Centre has over 35 kilometres of groomed and track-set trails for the novice and advanced skier. The trails meander through pine and hardwood forest, offering a challenge to skiers of varying ability levels. For more details on Cross-country skiing in the Ganaraska Forest please see our resources page.

Hunting
Hunters from across Ontario venture into the Ganaraska Forest throughout the year. Ganaraska Forest users should be aware that hunting is permitted in the West and East Forest areas as well as part of the Central Forest area. Forest maps indicate the no hunting zone within the Central Forest.

Wild turkeys, deer and game birds are among the more common pursuits. The shotgun season for deer generally runs during the first two weeks of November. The wild turkey season runs from late April until the end of May. These two seasons are the most popular times of year for hunting in the forest.

The discharge of firearms is prohibited except for the purpose of hunting. Construction of tree stands is prohibited.

Hunters must abide by all provincial hunting regulations including obtaining valid permits and licenses. All hunters must comply with the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and all applicable municipal laws. The Ministry of Natural Resources’ Hunting Regulations Summary should be consulted for a complete listing of seasons and regulations that pertain to hunting.

For a copy of the Hunting Regulations Summary, contact the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority at 905-885-8173 or The Ministry of Natural Resources at 705-755-2001

Off Road Vehicle Riding
Take a ride and explore the many kilometres of trails and logging roads in the Ganaraska Forest. Easy parking and multiple entry points ensure a number of exciting adventuresome routes are waiting to be explored. Be sure to pick up a copy of our detailed forest trail map. (Note: Some portions of the forest restrict motorized use.)

ATV's and off-road motorcycles can provide hours of recreational enjoyment if the rules are followed and if basic safety precautions are adhered to. Follow this link to the Durham Region ATV Safety Coalition information.

Snowmobiling
The Ganaraska Forest boasts one of the most extensive networks of snowmobiling trails in southern Ontario. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobiling Clubs (OFSC) is responsible for grooming and maintaining all snowmobile trails. An OFSC permit is required for all snowmobiling within the forest, however a forest membership or day pass is not required. Snowmobiles may not be unloaded at the Ganaraska Forest Centre.

Please see the Resources section of this site for details on Regulations, Etiquette, Violations and Enforcement.

Forest Management
The Ganaraska Forest is owned and managed by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority. In 1998 a management plan was completed for the Ganaraska Forest that will provide direction in the management of the Forest for 20 years. A number of objectives are identified in the plan, including the conservation and protection of the headwaters of the Ganaraska River, the protection of heritage resources in the Forest, the maintenance of wildlife habitat and the provision for outdoor recreation and education.

The production of wood products through the implementation of ecologically-based resource management practices will continue to be an important component of the multiple-use nature of the Forest. Pine plantations, which make up approximately 50% of the Ganaraska Forest, are being converted back to natural forests through the process of selective thinning and harvesting.